KillaJules wrote: You can't choose any play style you like after picking your deck because picking a division IS making a choice about your personal playstyle. This is exactly how the game should be. Wargame gradually trended away from generalised decks which gave players lots of freedom to "personalise" because it led to people cherry-picking the best choices in every category and ignoring units that weren't "meta". It made multiplayer repetitive and toxic. At its worst in WALB, it was always mixed NATO vs Soviet and unit choices hardly differed.
I fundamentally disagree for a number of reasons. To a large extent, what you speak of is basically Eugen's fault, as the devs never bothered to update or rebalance scores of low-tier units. There were all sorts of low-tier units that could have been given relevance, but were entirely ignored by the devs. In the few occasions that pleas from community members were actually heard and acted upon, such as with the poor BMP-1, it often lead to previously worthless picks becoming relevant once again.
With respect to issues in ALB, it was often the fault of the devs, who refused to correct obviously over-performing units. The F-14 / MiG-31 fighters were never dealt with (until RD), despite overwhelming evidence that they were stifling the use of all other air-superiority fighters. Unfortunately, Eugen was largely content to allow for a few 'super-units' to exist, rather than create more broadly-based unit balancing.
In addition, many of the problems came from the outcry of very small, but very vocal ranked community, who exclusively played in the Conquest gamemode. Conquest, with it's high income rate and lack of penalty for losses vis-à-vis Destruction, largely obviated many of the cost-effectiveness concerns that justified lower-tier units. Because fewer points were available in Destruction, and losses contributed to the enemy's score, it was not always possible or optimal to deploy the most expensive units. Conquest generally eliminated these economic concerns, promoting simplistic 'unit spam' gameplay that encouraged use of nothing but high-tier units.
Finally, while the minority of players that played ranked matches demonstrated a slavish adherence to the 'meta', this was by no means the case with more casual players. I, for one, spent a great deal of time purposefully selecting units that were not 'meta', and trying to find ways to make them work; often, I'd lose, but sometimes I'd find something that would work, or that was just plain fun to use. Attempting to enforce a 'meta' on players, without permitting such experimentation, helps to make a game repetitive and stagnant.